Sims Recycling Solutions focused on improving with an overarching customer survey
Ernest de Weert, Marketing Manager EMEA | Sims Recycling Solutions
Sims Recycling Solutions (SRS) helps organizations to safely and sustainably recycle or dispose their excessive and discarded electrical and electronic equipment for re-use in an efficient and environmentally responsible manner. It is part of the originally Australian and globally operating organization Sims Metal Management. The activities of SRS in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) are coordinated from the branch in Eindhoven. In 2017, SRS conducted a comprehensive customer survey in collaboration with Integron among all customers in nine countries and in eight languages.
Ernest de Weert is Marketing Manager EMEA at SRS, initiator of, and responsible for, the survey. “When I started working at SRS at the beginning of 2017, customer research was done fragmented in different countries and without a longer term strategy, while focused improvement is only possible if results are comparable within the organization, in time and with competitors. It has been decided to make this possible by having a centrally coördinated customer survey take place in 2017 and in 2019 and outsourcing it to a specialized agency for the sake of expertise and independence.”
Customer research and targeted improvement
The seeds for the collaboration with Integron were laid a few years earlier. Ernest: “I visited a trade fair in Utrecht and saw someone very actively presenting at a stall. Once in conversation, this turned out to be the enthusiastic director of Integron. In addition to his enthusiasm, he also appeared to have a good story about how to conduct and follow up a customer survey. Shortly thereafter I participated in a workshop organized by Integron that went deeper into customer satisfaction and experience and since then I have followed the company. Once working at SRS, contact with Integron was quickly made when the issue of customer research and targeted improvement arose. In competition with two other agencies they distinguished themselves for their research experience in our industry and their international portfolio.”
SRS is satisfied with the results of the customer survey. “With a general satisfaction score of 8.54 we score well above the benchmark of Integron for our industry. The same applies to the NPS score of 39%. In contrast to the trend at many other organizations, the first is more important to us than the latter. Loyalty is of course valuable, but we serve, besides electronics manufacturers, distributors and professional IT end users, a large specific group of customers and prospects that are competitors of each other and for that reason will not quickly recommend to each other. For us, the extensive benchmarking opportunities in the area of satisfaction scores have proved to be an enormous outcome.”
Activation route on the table
After completion of the customer survey, an analysis of the report took place in which the Integron’s Project Manager explained and interpret the research results. “The Commercial Director EMEA of SRS and I were present. When reading international research results, cultural differences must be taken into account. We could not simply assume that an assessment of a respondent from the Netherlands can be interpreted exactly the same as the same assessment of a respondent from the United Arab Emirates. An absolute added value from the report is the extensive feedback on image and expectations for the future. We consciously and specifically asked about this during the research.
Finally, after a productive session, there was an activation route on the table with which SRS could continue independently in the coordination of EMEA. “The activation route is divided into local and EMEA improvement points. All countries have received two reports: the EMEA-wide report and their local one. We then asked them all to propose two areas for improvement on the basis of each of the reports. Based on this contribution, the activation route, which is currently in full swing, is being further developed. Of course, all these areas for improvement will be measured in 2019 in the next study to determine actual improvement.”
Improvement areas from the survey
One of the EMEA points for improvement from the research is reporting by SRS. “We have big enterprises as (final) customers and in case of a recall they offer us huge amounts of their products to be destroyed. This must be accurately administered and certified to every serial number. In the smallest irregularity, brand damage can occur. It is logical that our customers demand even more of us, despite a more than adequate assessment in this area.”
During the annual Experience Awards organized by Integron, highlighting its best-performing customers, SRS came out as a winner in the Waste Collection category in 2018.
“Integron has many customers in our branch with whom it has been working for a long time. The fact that we were the best in 2017 with our first research in our sector feels like a wonderful crowning achievement of what we as an organization are doing together.”
Strategic long-term cooperation
Benjamin de Mooij is Project Manager and within Integron responsible for the customer survey carried out: “SRS has organized its business well. Not only the scores are high, the response percentage is also very decent. It’s good that the organization is working energetically with the improvement points, because nonetheless they are just there. Despite the fact that the bar is high, a strategic long-term partnership always offers growth potential. I look forward to a new collective effort in 2019.” Ernest: “I wholeheartedly agree with that.”